Diamondbacks Avoid Arbitration with Five More

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed five more players to one-year contracts, leaving only one arbitration-eligible player left unsigned.

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitchers Chad Qualls and Brandon Lyon, infielders Chris Burke and Orlando Hudson, and catcher Chris Snyder on one-year contracts. Right-hander Edgar Gonzalez is the only remaining arbitration-eligible Diamondbacks player.

Hudson's contract is for $6.25 million, a sizeable increase from the $3.9 million he made last year.  The Diamondbacks were unsuccessful in their attempts to lock him up long-term.  Hudson, 30, hit .294 last season (152-for-517), with 28 doubles, nine triples, 10 home runs and 63 RBI. Hudson won his third consecutive Gold Glove Award last season, tying for 10th-most in major league history among second basemen. He has hit .278 (755-for-2,712) with 150 doubles, 41 triples, 60 home runs and 331 RBI in 758 games over part of six major league seasons.

Snyder will earn  $1.85 million, up from the $400,000 he earned last year.  The 26 year-old Snyder hit .252 last season (82-for-326), with 20 doubles, 13 home runs and 47 RBI. His career-high 13 home runs tied a D-backs single-season record for catchers, while his 40 walks also tied his own franchise-mark set in 2005. Snyder has hit .238 (222-for-932) with 49 doubles, 30 home runs and 122 RBI in 315 games over parts of four seasons in the major leagues.

Lyon, 28, agreed to a $3,125,000 million deal, more than double the $1.5 million he made last season.  He is the underdog to win the closer's role over fellow right-hander Tony Pena.  General manager Josh Byrnes indicated that the Diamondbacks will select a closer before pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Tucson on Feb. 15.  Lyon went 6-4 with a 2.68 ERA (22 ER in 74.0 IP) over 73 outings last season, including a Diamondbacks franchise-record 35 holds, which also stand as the second-highest single season total in major league history. Lyon now owns 59 holds as a D-Back, the most in franchise history.  He has gone 18-24 with a 4.42 ERA (175 ER in 356.2 IP) in 1,248 games (21 starts) over parts of seven major league seasons.

Qualls agreed to $1,312,500 for 2008, a big jump from the $441,000 he got a year ago.  The 29-year old went 6-5 with a 3.05 ERA (38 ER in 82.2 IP) over 79 outings last season, including a career-high 78 strikeouts. Acquired on Dec. 14th from Houston in the four player Jose Valverde deal, Qualls leads the National League with 237 appearances since the beginning of the 2005 season. He also recorded three straight seasons with at least 20 holds, as he had 22 in 2005, 23 in 2006, and 21 in 2007. Qualls has gone 23-12 with a 3.39 ERA (113 ER in 284.0 IP) in 262 career games over parts of four major league seasons.

Burke, 27, gets $995,000, more than double the $415,500 he earned in 2007.  The utility player hit .229 last season (73-for-319), with 19 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 28 RBI and nine stolen bases. Acquired along with Qualls from Houston, Burke has hit .249 (254-for-1,020) with 61 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs, 94 RBI and 31 stolen bases in 359 games over parts of four seasons in the majors.

Right-hander Juan Cruz accepted a $1,937,500, one-year contract offer earlier this week.

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